Film Review: Fistful of Vengeance (dir by Roel Reiné)


I just finished watching Fistful of Vengeance on Netflix.  The film has a running time of 95 minutes and I have to admit that I spent a good deal of the film in a state of confusion.  While some of that was undoubtedly due to my ADD, there are two other factors to consider:

First off, Fistful of Vengeance is based on a show called Wu Assassins.  (Wu Assassins is also available on Netflix.)  The movie takes place immediately after the end of the show’s first season.  At this point, I should go ahead and admit that I have never seen the show.  The movie does start with a quick recap of who everyone is and why they’re running around the world and fighting supernatural warriors and, from what I’ve read, the film itself is meant to be stand-alone work of entertainment.  That said, I’m sure it can be argued that my lack of knowledge of Wu Assassins effected my ability to actually follow the plot of Fistful of Vengeance.  If you’re a fan of the show, you should probably just watch the movie and ignore my review.

The second thing to consider about Fistful of Vengeance is that the plot really didn’t matter.  Yes, there’s a lot of people conspiring against each other.  Yes, there’s a lot of talk of talismans and spirits and monsters and ancient powers.  And, yes, there’s international cartels and magical warriors.  There’s a mystery to be solved, as Tommy (Lawrence Kao) and his friends try to track down the person or persons responsible for the death of Tommy’s sister.  New allies are found and a few surprisingly enthusiastic sex scenes are staged.  Enemies are fought and I assume that there’s a reason for it all.  However, when watching the film, it soon becomes obvious that all of that plot is just there as an excuse for the action and the glossy images.  Fistful of Vengeance is not plot-driven.  Instead, Fistful of Vengeance is driven by style.

And you know what?

There’s not a damn thing wrong with that.

Seriously, you don’t watch a film like this because you’re searching for the meaning of life or because you’re hoping for some form of greater enlightenment.  You watch a movie like Fistful of Vengeance because you want to see good-looking people wearing nice clothes and kicking ass.  One fight follows another and all you really need to know is that you want Kai Jin (played by action specialist Iko Uwais), Tommy, and their team to win.  You don’t really need to know who they’re fighting or why they’re fighting.  Instead, the appeal is watching the artistry of the kicks and the punches and the tossing of weapons.  Add in some monsters and some magical powers and a nice propulsive soundtrack and the movie pretty much has everything that an audience needs to be entertained.  It’s a big, glossy, colorful, and rather silly movie.  I had no idea what was going on for most of it but I still found myself watching.  It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it really doesn’t demand much.  It’s not really a film that’s going to stick with you but watching it is also not terrible way to spend 95 minutes of your day.

2 responses to “Film Review: Fistful of Vengeance (dir by Roel Reiné)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 2/21/22 — 2/27/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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